By Lauren Zeugner
SYRACUSE — The Syracuse Town Council held a special meeting to pass several resolutions that will lay the preliminary groundwork for Polywood’s proposed $12 million expansion.
The council passed a resolution allowing Polywood to have a 10-year real estate and a 10-year personal property tax abatement on the new building. Council President Paul Stoelting asked if Polywood received 100 percent abatement during the first year of the abatement term and 5 percent on the last year how would the bonds that will be issued for road improvements and the new ballpark be paid for.
Jim Higgins of London Witte, the town’s accounting firm, explained the bond will be paid by increments on the Polywood side. Small principal payments will be made in the first few years of the abatement and the bonds and bonds anticipation note will be structured to follow Polywood’s roll-off through the abatement.
In the second resolution, the town council approved transferring ownership of the ballpark property to the Syracuse Redevelopment Commission. Dennis Otten, Bose, McKinney and Evans, the law firm working with the council and redevelopment commission on the project, explained the redevelopment commission has special powers, granted by the state, to do these types of transfers.
Once the property is transferred to the redevelopment commission, it will sell the property to Polywood for a nominal fee.
The council turned its attention to considering allowing a town employee to achieve 5 days of vacation prior to the time earned according to the town’s benefit guide.
Mike Noe, town manager, explained a new employee requested two weeks of vacation in accepting the job. At his previous job he had three weeks vacation and had also acquired a professional license.
Stoelting said he was approving the request based on the COVID-19 pandemic. Looking over the offer letter that was sent to the new employee, Stoelting said it looked and felt like terms of a contract. He noted the employee was coming from North Webster and gone ahead to get his professional license.
Paula Kehr-Wicker, clerk-treasurer, pointed out the salary and benefit ordinances served as contracts between the town and the employees. She asked if they needed to be amended.
Councilman Larry Siegel asked about the raise promised due to the license. Kehr-Wicker explained all hourly rates for town employees are in a range. As long as the salary offered was within the proposed range the council didn’t need to take action on it.
Noe said he referred to other offer letters from previous superintendents. Siegel suggested he run offer letters by Vern Landis, town attorney in the future.
The council approved giving the employee 5 days vacation six months early.
The council approved Joe Cazier to represent the town on the Area Plan Commission. After being approved for the position last month, Alan Frank stated he couldn’t be the town’s representative on the commission.
Discussion turned to future regular meetings of the town council. The council will have a zoom meeting at 6 p.m. Tuesday, June 16, and will then meet at 6 p.m. July 21 in the pavilion at Veterans Memorial at Crosson Mill Park.
The council learned work on Medusa Street was more complicated than anticipated. The town received a Community Crossroads Grant to put water in and pave the street to Front Street. However, when the contractor went in to put the water in, they realized the pavement was only about 4 inches thick and had to do a total road repair.
Noe told the council an additional $85,000 may be needed to finish the paving work. However, Kehr-Wicker said there should be enough funds from the grant and the town’s portion to get the work done.
She explained the bids for the projects were lower than the grant amount awarded. She noted if the town did not use the grant and its portion, it would have to pay the state back.
Siegel asked to verify the $85,000 was below the grant amount and if not, which line item in the budget would money be pulled from. Kehr-Wicker said she would double check but if the town needed to use its own funds she would pull them from the local road and street line item.